Cardi B has more to her catalog than "Bodak Yellow."
Beau-d up heavy with "Slippery" rapper Offset, Cardi B really is the “hottest in the streets” with her breakout single “Bodak Yellow” blazing through the charts and exploding on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. While Swifties and #TheKINGDOM (formerly Barbz) came for the crown hovering over the Bronx rapper's platinum blonde wig, the #BARDIGANG was still confident they could get their girl to the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart-- and they did. While Minaj, the oft-disputed current queen of hip-hop herself has never had a single rise to the coveted No. 1 slot, the fact that a stripper turned-reality-star turned rapper could catapult to sudden worldwide success and nab the No. 1 spot is a feat those grinding for years can't boast.
Cardi B's come up itself isn't remarkable-- she's not the first woman to turn the tri-metamorphosis of stripping, reality stardom, and Instagram fame into a consistent and sizable payday (looking at you, Blac Chyna). Known to her 10 million followers as a take-no-shit woman from the Bronx with a Dominican flair and thick accent, Cardi built an anti-fuck-boy throne on top of a strong foundation spent hustling and gang-banging. Cardi doesn't hesitate to shout out the NYC streets on her records, proud to rep the grind that made her a unstoppable force empowering girls across the world, encouraging them to be themselves amidst a sea of Instagram wannabes. Regarding her influence Cardi revealed, "...I started seeing that a lot of girls kept writing to me like, 'Yo, I feel so confident about my body because you just show me I shouldn’t care.' There’s a couple of people talking shit about me, but there’s so many more girls saying that I inspire them."
Despite her famous confidence, Cardi was hesitant to translate her viral fame into securing a spot in the music industry. “I was always scared to follow my dreams because if I follow my dreams and I fail, I can’t dream about it anymore,” she revealed to Fader. “It’s easier to settle for less.” However, she bit the bullet and hopped on Jamaican reggae fusion artist Shaggy's track "Boom Boom" with Popcaan in November 2015. In March of 2016, Cardi released her first full-length mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1. which was soon followed in January 2017 by Gangsta Bitch Music's second instalment.
2017 proved to be the year for Cardi B to reach mainstream success after she signed a lucrative deal with Atlantic records in early February. The first single the Bronx-rapper turned out for the label was "Bodak Yellow," a track that catapulted to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in only seven weeks. Cardi's meteoric rise is the fastest ascent in recent history, a sentiment echoed by Trevor Anderson, Billboard's hip hop chart manager. "We haven’t seen a song from someone brand new go up the charts this quick since Meghan Trainor. That it happened without a meme, without a dance, it makes it that much weirder,” he remarked. Cardi currently hails as the first woman MC since Nicki Minaj with her 2014 hit "Anaconda"" to slide a solo rap song in the revered top-10 slot.
There's no disputing that Cardi's on top right now, and she knows you've (probably) heard of her. Check out these 10 Cardi B songs that you should hear that aren't "Bodak Yellow" to get more acquainted with this on-fire, chart-topping female rapper.
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
This emotional track off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 features Cardi's stripped down vocals with frequent interludes of stepping off the beat to lay it bare between hooks. Intensely personal, "Everything" is a catalogue of Cardi's grind through poverty and aspirations far beyond relying on her body to make ends meet, and her dedication to bring her family along on her come-up. "I'm simply just a young hood girl tryna win/I just want it all, and I gon' pretend/Like I ain't never had to suck a dick to pay my rent/I'm tryna get my family out the hood and new cribs." With the low production quality consistent throughout Vol. 1, Cardi relies heavily on spitting her truth to carry the track--and it works.
9. Sauce Boyz
Cardi cemented her image as a bitch you don't want to fuck with in this track off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1. With a heavy militant beat softened by rhythmic snare, Cardi flips the common trope of men using women to get they want on its head. With lyrics like "I hate when I'm using a guy and shit/and they start catching feelings/and like no matter what I tell them/like they just don't stop liking me" and "Cannot talk spicy cause you are not hot/You are just sauce/You bought me a chain, a ring, and a watch/but how much it cost/It's not expensive then he is a not I'm cutting him off" the Bronx rapper backs up her countless Instagram rants about running through weak men.
8. On Fleek
Cardi reminds those hating on her recent success that she never leaves the house looking sloppy or without charging for a coveted appearance. This boom bop track off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 is an ode to her come up, reminding those desperate to see her catch an L that they won't be lucky anytime soon. "I pull up, like what's up, everything on fleek/I do it nice, seven days a week/Like oh my, oh my, oh my God/I don't do nothing for free you know I got to charge" sitting as the hook on the rack, Cardi repeats her status in between versus boasting her originality: "I am a whole different breed/I'm Cardi, capiche."
7. Cheap Ass Weave
The track that landed Cardi her first music video back in 2015 pulls no punches and serves as the literal anthem for messy females with clumps of shedding knockoff 100% Malaysian/Brazilian locks clogging their shower drains. A huge fan of English rapper Lady Leshurr, Cardi sampled the beat and remade the accented phenom's original track, "Queen's Speech Ep.4." The tongue-in-cheek humor Cardi uses to call out thots with ragged length comes from a very real distaste of the sloppy look, telling Complex: "The way your hair look is so important. You could really have a $10 dress, you could have the most raggedy outfit, a t-shirt and sweatpants and fucked up boots. But your hair, it means she just had to run outside like that. She be on point because her hair is on point. The way your hair looks is so important. Men don’t like when your weave smells like potato chips and corn and whatever the crap. It’s so important how your hair looks."
6. Bronx Season
Cardi loves to call out her hometown as much she preaches on the realities of hoeism in "Bronx Season" off of Gangsta Bitch Vol. 2. A hard-hitting, heavy return to dishing on her ex problems, Cardi deadass calls out all of the men who promised her she would never amount to anything. Cardi reminds those bum bitches who's on top now, in: "The sleepin' on me just because I used to strip/But it's all good 'cause now they wanna get up in my VIP/Blowin' up my phone, sayin' everythin' I touch is lit."
The queen of spotting opportunity, Cardi took a catchphrase and made a track out of it. In a Fader feature, Cardi proudly remarks on keeping a finger on the culture pulse to get inspiration for her records: "When there’s a word that is catchy to me, I might use it in my music. Everybody kept saying ‘foreva, foreva’… And then I was like, 'Shit, I’m about to capitalize on it.'” "Foreva" isn't just a looming threat to those interested in beefing with the star, it comes from Cardi's real life experience too, as she didn't hesitate to reveal that she "really ran down on a girl two times.” This track, off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 was the first to gain real traction, with Cardi's signature hard-hitting lyrics and clean production and by Love & Hip Hop co-star SwiftOnDemand.
This brassy, twerk-friendly bop hails back to Cardi's stripper background, of her pride in finessing both "money makers" and "scammers" out of their cash. "I'm just into making money, I ain't into making love/When you hear that stripper hoe, I'm the one you thinking of/I'm the b-- they love to hate, I'm the bitch they hate and love/Yellow bitch I look like Diamond in Playas Club," Cardi raps as she struts down a NY street in the single's music video. "Washpoppin" is also a Cardi B catchphrase of sorts.
3. Red Barz
Cardi B's crew hypes her up as she raps some "regular, degular, Bloody barz." Surrounded by her red-clad entourage, Cardi drops two minutes of a scathing, uninterrupted strip down of the men and women who don't want to see her reach the top. "Every time I catch a hating bitch, she on her stutter shit/Can't finish her words but on Instagram thuggin' shit/You set yourself up, don't make it seem like I be buggin' bitch/And niggas hatin' on me, really be upset, I don't know, make me wonder what you got between your legs/You a real nigga mad at a bitch for getting bread?"
2. Pull Up
This tight, aggressive track off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 is the "bitch, try me" anthem to haters everywhere. In the music video for "Pull Up," Cardi is surrounded by her (suitably) red-dressed crew daring "That bum bitch to run her mouth," to which the Bronx rapper spits, "I swear to God I'ma lay her out/When I catch you on the side of town, My Guiseppe heels gonna stomp you out/I'm tired of playin', I'm tired of playin'/I'ma give you hell, you gon' think I'm Satan."
Cardi and Offset definitely both caught a lick in this collab off of Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2. The long-time rumored (and now confirmed) couple capitalize on their palpable chemistry on the track, a nod to their incredible recent successes. Dishing to The Fader, Cardi explained what a "lick" is, that it's "about the moment when you catch a big come up or when you make a big check, when you catch a big come up or when you make a big check. When you just make something that weren't expecting to do, but it goes to your benefit. And that's what happened with my life — I caught a lick." Offset's established popularity and the video's sexy, Oceans 11 vibe (22 million views and counting) pushed the track to be the album's first mainstream hit. It should be noted: the original version of the song that appeared on GBM Vol. 2 did not have Offset, but he's since been added and the updated track (no longer dubbed as a remix) has replaced the version sans Offset.